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When Your Only Option Is To Storm Off

, , , , , | Right | April 4, 2023

There were blizzard conditions in the DC area. The FAA had issued a Full Ground Stop order; no plane in the area could take off or land period, enforced by the federal government. In my position, we were never to speak harshly to ANY customer, ever. The worst possible thing was to EVER hang up on the customer.

Caller: “I’ve got to fly from DC to New York now!”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but due to blizzard conditions, there is a full ground stop in the area. All flights in or out of the area are cancelled until further notice.”

Caller: “Well, change to Reagan.”

Me: “I’m sorry, same issue there.”

Caller: “What about Baltimore?”

Me: “I’m sorry, same issue there.”

The caller is very irate and seemingly not used to hearing “no”.

Caller: Put me on with whoever can get me on a plane to New York!

In the ensuing tirade, he actually demands the airline put on another flight just for him!

Me: “Sir, the FAA ground stop makes that impossible. No executive or employee of any airline can override the FAA’s order.”

Caller: “Get me a manager.”

I give the call to the next layer of management and then leave my position so she can use my headset. I don’t know all that is said, but the Customer Service Specialist says:

Customer Service Specialist: “Well, you’re being a complete a**!”

Then, they disconnected the call.

Apparently, the guy would lose custody of his child if he failed to appear. I couldn’t imagine what that divorce or that judge were like or what his past behavior was that provoked a restraint so stringent that one of the worst winter storms in history would not excuse the appearance.

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